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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Marr

Branded Apparel Basics: Embroidery vs Screen Printing

Branded apparel is an amazing tool that provides your business with various benefits:

  • Branded apparel boosts teamwork

  • Apparel increases brand awareness, especially if your employees work in public

  • There are styles for every climate and occasion

  • Branded apparel shows attention to detail

If you're wondering whether or not you should go with screen printing or embroidery, keep reading to learn more about both options 👇👇


Embroidery is the craft of decorating fabric or other materials using a needle to apply thread or yarn. It also creates a more 3D type effect with more physical features than screen printing.


Embroidery is much more durable than screen printing and will typically give your garments a much longer shelf life. Because the threads are physically implanted into the material, you don't have to worry as much about damaging the imprint.


Embroidery is typically used with smaller logos and artwork; for example you would NOT use embroidery to imprint a large area on the back of a t-shirt. Standard sizes for embroidery (such as on a polo shirt) typically range from 3" to 4" wide.


With embroidery, you tend to sacrifice a bit of imprint detail in order to take advantage of a higher quality look and feel. Because embroidery is somewhat confined to physical limitations, we recommend keeping the imprint simple when using embroidery. That means no images, tiny graphic details, and/or small text.


Embroidery costs are typically determined by the thread count of the final imprint. Not only do simpler imprints look better with embroidery, but they're also less expensive.

Top Embroidered Garments

  • Polo shirts & button-downs

  • Jackets & outerwear

  • Headwear

Screen Printing

Screen printing (or silk screening) is the process of pushing ink through a mesh stencil screen to create a printed design on a garment.


Because screen printing is done using ink, it can crack/peel over time, especially if the garment is put under heavy use. Screen printing is also at risk if it's washed incorrectly. However, screen printing is better for thinner garments as it is applied on top of the material rather than stiched into it.


Screen printing is a great solution for both small and large imprints. For example, if you wanted a full coverage imprint on the back of a t-shirt, screen printing is the right choice. A good rule of thumb is that if your imprint is over 5 square inches, you may want to explore screen printing.


Screen printing is more detailed than embroidery and should be used if your imprint contains small text, fine contours, and even images! There is also a wider range of colors available, which can make it easier for an apparel supplier to match your logo colors.


Screen printing is typically priced out based on how many colors are in the imprint. Size and apparel quantity also come into play.

Top Screen Printed Garments

  • T-shirts

  • Hoodies & sweatshirts

  • Activewear & performance apparel

How to Decide.

As with anything marketing, your needs should be the main driver behind your decisions.

There are literally thousands of apparel brands and styles and it helps to have an experienced supplier that can help you make the right decisions.

Our team has sourced branded apparel for many of our clients, and we take pride in the fact that every proposal is custom built around your specific needs.


Daniel Marr is the lead Marketing Strategist and Director of Business Development for NWPC Marketing Solutions, a team of marketing experts dedicated to helping you achieve your goals and BOOST your brand! Our awesome team strives to build effective marketing strategies by working side-by-side with businesses as advisors and consultants.

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